For a guy with a pretty good job, who's young, rich, single and not too bad-looking, Rep. John LeBoutillier (R-N.Y.) seems to be having a pretty miserable time in Washington, at least according to an interview published in the October issue of Playboy magazine.
"There are evil people here and they're out to get you," LeBoutillier says in the interview, which is being promoted heavily by the magazine.
"I've been invited to a couple of parties and turned them down because I didn't know the people who had invited me. I could go to the party and get taken into a room with a video recorder going. You just have to be so careful. So I go right home to my apartment, which is across the street, and I lock and bolt the door and stay in there alone. I'm always afraid that my apartment is wired."
In the question-and-answer interview, not to be confused with The Playboy Interview (which is with actor Robin Williams in this issue) -- LeBoutillier also announces that "I do not have lust in my heart."
But he allows that he doesn't buy Playboy just for its literary content.
"I look at everything in Playboy," he says.
The 29-year-old, first-term congressman, who has quickly gained the reputation of being mouthy, headstrong and often brash, also told Playboy that "I'm probably not very competent in anything," called his Honorable title "kind of a joke" and says he pays for his haircuts in New York because the Capitol barbershop is a "butchery."
Just kidding, said LeBoutillier last night.
Reached at his family estate in Westbury, N.Y., the congressman accused the magazine of "trying to hype the thing up" and taking the promotional quotes, which were used in a press release, out of context.
"Of course, I'm competent," said LeBoutillier, speaking in a serious, reserved tone. "We were kidding and laughing a lot during the interview . . . . They should have put in when we were joking . . . I think that's terrible . . . I think that if they had kept things in context, there wouldn't have been anything to promote.
"Sure, I'm having a good time here in Washington . . . I hope the reader understands some things were said in jest . . ."
A few more selections from the interview:
"If I'm photographed talking with someone at a party, that photograph can ruin me. I toe a very safe line. A woman can come into this office, see me alone, walk out and say that I made a move on her. Even if it's not true, I'm guilty once charged."
"I find men in Congress old enough to be my grandfather calling me sir. It makes me feel ill at ease and I always ask them to stop."
"They had three people in the receiving line at the White House: Reagan, George Bush and Bob Hope. How do you figure that one? My guess is that Bob Hope lives in the White House. He sure looked like he knew his way around."
LeBoutillier makes good copy, and although he says he would not talk to Penthouse, that might be the only place he draws the line.
"I enjoy the attention," he said of his penchant for the press in the Playboy interview. ". . . If I couldn't use the press, why would I ever want to do an interview? When you get down to it, the only reason a politician wants press is that it leads to power . . ."
When he first arrived in Washington two years ago, he was available to all, featured in most of the major magazines and newspapers. The youngest member of the House, he scored an upset victory over the Democratic incumbent with the help of President Reagan's good California friends Justin Dart and Holmes Tuttle.
A Harvard man, LeBoutillier is an heir to the Whitney fortune and a cousin of designer Gloria Vanderbilt. Since his election, he has been quoted as calling Congress a "joke," Sen. Charles Percy (R-Ill.) a "wimp," Alexander Haig "Henry Kissinger's messenger boy" and as describing House Speaker "Tip" O'Neill (D-Mass.) as "big, fat and out of control--just like the federal government."
Lately though, some say LeBoutillier has been toning down his act. He apologized for calling one senator a "drunk."
Last night, LeBoutillier said that he has been getting many press inquiries about the Playboy interview, but that everyone was ignoring anything serious he had to say in the interview.
Specifically, LeBoutillier was referring to his comments in the interview about his "major" political concern. "I have one thing I care about more than anything else," the interview says. "I'm absolutely convinced that there are American prisoners of war in Southeast Asia. I'd give up anything in my life to get those guys out."
"I take my job seriously," he said last night. "but I also have a good time and I realize that I'm human and I have faults . . . I'm not always right . . . but I can laugh at myself."